NHL picks: 4 best bets for Tuesday
Andrew Berkshire picks out his four best NHL bets for Tuesday.
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Everything right now comes down to playoff races. There are some teams fighting for lottery spots of course, but for the most part, the actual players on every team are going for the win if they physically can. Can bad teams play spoiler for teams fighting for Wild Card spots? It happens every year that a bad team gets underestimated or not taken seriously at a crucial time, but which teams will fall victim to that trap?
Winnipeg Jets to beat Carolina Hurricanes
With the loss of Evgeni Svechnikov to a knee injury right as he was recapturing his goal scoring ways, the Hurricanes are in a tougher spot today than they have been pretty much all season. They’re still an incredible team, loaded with depth, that plays a style that grinds opponents into pulp, but the Jets are no slouches.
It’s been a rough last few weeks for the Jets, but I still believe they’re a team that has more to give down the stretch here, and there’s enough of a buffer between them and the Nashville Predators that they’ve had some runway to struggle, even though that’s disappearing quickly. Winners of two straight, they might be back in control of their own destiny.
Montreal Canadiens to beat Pittsburgh Penguins
On the second half of a back-to-back, decimated by injuries, the Montreal Canadiens’ odds of beating the Pittsburgh Penguins are very low, but the Penguins have been making a habit of snatching defeat from the jaws of victory for stretches this season. They’re actually on a solid run right now, winning seven of their last 10, but the Penguins seem to give up points to bad teams a lot.
The scrappy Canadiens have played contenders hard in recent weeks despite losing seven straight, even pushing the pace against the Colorado Avalanche Monday night after the game looked out of control at 6-1. The payout here is too large to ignore, and the Canadiens are 5-5 in the second-half of back-to-backs this season.
New York Islanders to beat Los Angeles Kings
The Islanders went from being their own worst enemies in a free fall down the standings in the Eastern Conference, to clearly the best team fighting for that last Wild Card spot in the East. Things have come together of late for New York, as new acquisitions settle in and Ilya Sorokin continues to have an absolutely astonishingly great season.
The LA Kings are a better team overall, in my opinion, just starting out a competitive window through their youth movement after a very savvy rebuild on the fly, but the East is also way stronger than the West this year, so I’m not sure the gap between the two teams is that large. One big gap between the two teams is goaltending talent. Advantage Islanders.
Nazem Kadri (Calgary Flames) to score anytime vs Arizona Coyotes
The Calgary Flames have a real opportunity over the next month. While the Minnesota Wild have been extraordinarily red-hot lately, losing a Hart Trophy candidate in Kirill Kaprizov could send them vaulting down the standings. The points gap is huge, but the Flames have a pretty weak schedule, a resurgent Jakob Markstrom, and a healthy roster.
One player who is due to be a bigger contributor down the stretch is Nazem Kadri, who has scored just twice over the last six weeks, even though he’s been getting chances left, right, and centre. With 6.71 expected goals, Kadri’s finishing has been sub par, but against the Coyotes he could be poised for a breakout.